Thursday, April 5, 2012

Labor of Laughter

There is a question I am asked quite often. It's also a question that I see online almost every day. It usually goes something like this, "Hi! I'm overdue and I need to get this baby out. How do I get this baby out of me?" A lot of women want to avoid medical induction since Pitocin can be nasty stuff when it's given out like candy (common in many hospitals) and carries a heavy set of risk, such as stress to the baby and eventual C-Section. So, you end up with a ton of advice on how to get that baby out without using the hospitals P-Juice. Some examples:

  • Walk. Walk. Walk. Now walk it out, walk it out, walk it out (obscure rap reference).
  • Sex. Lots of sex. Lots of sex that involves semen. Sperm it out.
  • Cohosh: Black and Blue to bring your baby to you. 
  • Red Raspberry Leaf Tea to help the uterus feel sassy and toned so it's in shape for it's most important marathon ever. 
  • Nipple Stimulation - twist those little boob nubs to stimulate contraction that you'll hopefully be shouting your way through soon. 
  • Acupuncture - if the other kind of poking I mentioned up there doesn't work, then these pokes might.
  • Chiropractic - a well-adjusted mom will have a well-adjusted timely labor.
  • Castor oil - because after you take the biggest and most foul poo of your life, that baby is not going to want to be anywhere near those intestines. 

 Those are just a few options that women have for helping labor start. There are plenty more. I have never tried to make labor happen. Now, I did drink Red Raspberry Leaf tea and I alternated homeopathic black and blue cohosh for a few weeks prior to my due date in order to get my uterus and her cervix in fantastic shape. Other than that, I am perfectly happy to allow labor to start on it's own prior to forty two weeks. Now, I have never gone more than 4 days over my due date. I may sing a different tune if I were to ever get close to 42. As it stands, I didn't want to rush things, mainly because I procrastinate, but also because I kinda hate pushing. It Hurts. 

 With my son, I went into labor on my own. I knew it was coming overnight, but getting up at 5:30am to clean up diarrhea from my differently-abled kitty (thanks for feeding her cheese, Dad!) kicked everything into gear. My miscarriage started on it's own. My third birth may have been helped along. I may have done things to get the ball rolling, so I want to share it with you. This may give you an alternative to other induction methods. I may start a worldwide trend.

 It was Thursday, August 11. I was due August 8th, but I was in no rush to evict my little girl. I had a pretty normal day, but got hit with the nesting bug later in the afternoon. I had insanely bad SPD (symphasis pubis dysfunction) and was kinda limited when it came to moving around. I couldn't clean as much as I wanted, but I could vacuum. I love vacuuming. It's easy and it produces instant results and makes you feel good. On that day, my nesting took it further. I went all He-Man and picked up my Queen mattress. I vacuumed the box spring. I vacuumed both sides of the mattress. I even put a fitted sheet around the box spring to make it look prettier. Nesting done, I played mini-golf with my husband and son. I almost cried on the golf course, somewhere around the big fake mountain with the big fake unnaturally blue waterfall, because I was an utter mini-golf failure. I couldn't get my balls in the holes. So, I cried. Then I got mad at my husband. This has something to do with pregnancy hormones. After mini-golf, I yelled at my husband in the CVS parking lot and cried some more. I mention all of this because it may be part of the labor induction puzzle. It may be something you want to try.

 When we got home, I sat my giant self in my computer chair and read the posts on my August Due Date Club message board. There were plenty of announcements about new baby as well as lamentations that babies were never coming and  that pregnancy would continue forever. One post stood out. A friend posted a link to a website that included different ways to check the progression of labor without an internal cervical exam. Sweet.  One of the things mentioned was called "The Bottom Line." It's a line that runs from your crackus buttus upward toward your lower back. It's length corresponds with cervical dilation. Here is an excerpt from the site:

"There is something called the ‘bottom line’, which is shadow that extends from the anus up towards the back along the crease of the buttocks. It begins as 1cm and lengthens to 10cm, and it’s length correlates with cervical dilation. Why not look down there before inviting a stranger to put their fingers up inside you? It makes sense to me. Here is current research verifying the existence of the bottom line, and in their trial it was measurable and had acceptable accuracy for 76% of women checked."

Being the sane and rational person I am, I grabbed my floor length mirror and took it into my bathroom. I dropped my pants and bent over in front of the mirror and strained my neck and every possible muscle in my body in an attempt to view my own ass crack. That is damn near impossible when you are gigantically with child. I couldn't see my crack. I spent a half hour contorting myself into different positions and finally trying to squat over a hand mirror to see if I could see a line. Obviously, the baby belly was in the way and it was a no go. I may have blocked it out of my memory, but I can't remember how I finally saw the purple line. I was twisted into the most unnatural position for a human, let alone an enormous pregnant human, and all I could do was see this damn line. Oh no! Seeing it isn't enough. I needed to measure it to see how dilated I was. I opened the bathroom door and called out for my husband. It was just past midnight at this point and my husband was dozing off. I yelled for him to come help me in the bathroom and he came running, white as ghost because he probably figured I had dropped the baby in the toilet like they do in TV shows. I asked him to grab my tape measure from my sewing kit and meet me in the kitchen because we'd need better lighting. Not questioning me, he grabbed the tape measure and found me in the kitchen, butt to world. "See that purple line in my crack? Can you measure that? I need to see if I'm dilated." It's a testament to our marriage that he measure my butt crack line without even questioning me. He said it was 5 to 7 centimeters - "but closer to 7."  He couldn't get a great measurement because I was laughing so hard .Wow! 7 cms. That means I was almost fully dilated and I didn't even feel a thing! OMG! My baby is going to drop out of me after a 10 minute labor...when I finally go into labor. I then did the next most sane and rational thing - I got back online and reported my findings to my August due date club AND everyone on my personal Facebook. My best friend, who also happens to be my midwife, even commented on my status. She thought it was cool.

 I went about Facebooking, smug with the knowledge that my baby was practically crowning and I wasn't even in labor. I figured that I would post in a few days about how my baby just glided out while I giggled. I continued conversations on Facebook and posted a Journey video to a friend's wall. This is important. My friend and I had some weird inside joke involving Journey. Before I left for maternity leave, we would watch the video for "Separate Ways" (otherwise known as "Someday love will find you, break this chains that bind you) in the pharmacy at work and we would laugh our asses off. No offense to Journey fans, but I find the video hilarious. The way Steve Perry over emotes every single word. The sleeveless t-shirts. The super drama. The 80's super model. Bulging denim. The mustaches! And the guy playing his keyboard up against the wall with such bravado - as if playing his keyboard that way was going to save the world from annihilation by some alien race (it's the 80's - think A.L.F.). It's just full of early 80's music video awesome. Totally rad. So, there I was, watching the video I posted to her Wall and just cracking up. I felt a pop in my pelvis and I figured it was just my SPD causing more chaos. I got up to get my husband so he, too, could enjoy the laughter at this Journey video (the lead singer, Steve Perry, makes faces that remind me of my hubby - that was part of the funny).

I opened the door to the bedroom and whoosh! amniotic fluid was splashing onto the carpet. There it was. I was officially beginning labor. That was at 1am. I gave birth at 7:27 pm the next day. Obviously, not the 20 minute breezy labor I had anticipated and I definitely didn't giggle her out. Oh, my midwife checked me later that afternoon. Honestly, the only reason she checked me was to see if I was right about the bottom line. My labor had not been painful up until that moment and I had this fear that I was never going to have strong contractions and that my baby would fall out of my vagina while I was outside walking around. I was...wait for it....3 cms. WHAT!?! Obviously, the bottom line may not be that accurate OR my hubby didn't get a good measurement. I now know that the bottom line is really only accurate further into active labor, not when you are randomly checking your crack at midnight.

I present this all to you to share my experience. I believe that nature should be allowed to take her course in most cases. There are definitely times when inductions are warranted. I also understand the desire to get things moving because you are so uncomfortable or because inching close to 42 weeks means your midwife won't attend your birth center or home birth. So, I wanted to add these two natural methods to the repertoire.  If you find yourself wanting to naturally give the labor ball a little nudge give these two things a try:

  • Bend over in front of a mirror to check your butt crack for the magic bottom line. Bonus points for breaking into giggle fits while you post about it on Facebook.
  • Watch a Journey video. For added enjoyment, watch it with the sound off. Trust me. 

I hope you have found this helpful. I realize I will most likely start a trend. This will be known as the EarthChild method of labor induction. Books will probably be written. I promise, I will not let the fame get to my head.

1 comment:

Mrs. Riccobono (a.k.a. "Mrs. Rick") said...

There's the Riccobono method of getting a baby out too. Proscrastinate on Christmas gift shopping until you have 9 days until Christmas. Scream at husband and power walk through a mall, totally using your PG belly to generate sympathy or push people out of the way. Go home to sit on wrap all the gifts, then sit on the couch, during a raging ice storm, to watch your favorite tv show. Realize that your stomach muscles appear to be moving on their own, all in time to the ads. Call best friend, whose boyfriend picks up the phone and listen to her scream about how she knows it's you because CSI is on and it's practically a blizzard out there. Be told you can't have your baby until CSI is over. Attempt to sleep (I swear I did, Sam says otherwise) - get up the next day and take a long hot shower - even though you mocked your sister-in-law for taking a shower while in labor. Deeply regret mocking your sis-in-law. Scream in pain while hubby is on the phone with students who called to see if "the wife had the kid yet." Vow those children will fail, even though you have no control over their grades, you promise them you will find a way to fail them. Get to the hospital, where you play Irish reels and jigs and play many games of uno. Get yelled at by nurses because the radio is too loud. Turn it up even louder. Labor was fun.

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